LOS ANGELES - “Peter Rabbit,” the new live-action/CGI adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic stories, has been accused by groups in several countries of “allergy bullying.”
The controversy involves a scene in which Thomas McGregor, who has a severe allergy to blackberries, is pelted with the fruit, causing him to go into anaphylactic shock.
A charity group called Kids with Food Allergies on Friday complained about the scene, posting a warning on its Facebook page along with the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit. The group said that joking about the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”
According to a report from the Associated Press, Sony Pictures on Sunday, in a joint statement with the filmmakers, said “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character with a serious allergy, even in a “cartoonish, slapstick way.”
Sony and the filmmakers additionally said they, “Sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.”
Peter Rabbit first appeared in 1902’s “The Tales of Peter Rabbit.” Walt Disney wished to make a Peter Rabbit film in 1936 but Potter refused to give him the rights to do so.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.